Mathie-Harle Chiling II North Face Expedition Report / by Alex Mathie

Back in June, my good friend and long-time climbing partner Matt jetted off to the Zanskar Himalaya for a month. Our sights were set firmly on the unclimbed north face of Chiling II, a stunning 1400m wall of granite and ice.

Our expedition was unsuccessful. Of the 18 days we were in the Zanskar range, all featured precipitation at higher elevations and difficult weather cycle of building cloud, fresh snowfall and brief windows of sunshine. By the time we got on our intended line proper, the mountain was plastered in unstable snow and we were shut down by torrential spindrift and frequent avalanches off the north face’s large median snowfield.

Nevertheless, the trip was a great experience. We learnt a huge amount about exploratory alpinism in the greater ranges, met some awesome people, and got to spend some time hanging out in one of the most wild mountainous areas on the planet. What a privilege. We’re stoked to have had the opportunity.

Thanks to everyone that made our trip possible. Below is the expedition report — useful for: others planning a trip to the area; other young alpinists making their first trips to the greater ranges; anyone wanting a (semi)fun read.

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A debutant’s guide to Himalayan alpinism featuring precarious moraine, knee-deep slush, and incessant snowfall.